Sewickley Academy field hockey proud of runner-up finish
The Sewickley Academy field hockey team considered it a major accomplishment to have reached the WPIAL championship game, where it lost to archrival and defending champion Shady Side Academy in overtime, 2-1, last week.
Rebuilding, the Panthers entered the season not expecting to make the playoffs.
“We came a long way,” senior Megan Johnson said. “Half of our starters never played before.”
Sewickley Academy (7-7-1 overall, 6-3-1 in Class AA), was section runner-up to Shady Side Academy, which, in the final, beat the Panthers for the third time this season in the closest game of the three.
“The more we played them, the better we became,” senior Grace Meakem said. “The first time we met, they shut us out, 6-0, then they beat us, 4-1, before we went into overtime in the final.”
In the final, Shady Side Academy scored first before senior Alexis Bosilovic tied the game with a second-half goal. The winning goal came on a shot that deflected off a Sewickley Academy player's stick.
“It was a well-fought game,” Sewickley Academy coach Cheryl Ann Lassen said. “We had our chances and really gave them a run.
“It was a tough one to lose.”
Sewickley Academy advanced to the championship game after beating Ellis, 2-1, in overtime in the opening round.
“After winning, we had momentum,” said Meakem, 18.
Bosilovic was the Panthers' leading scorer this year with 15 goals. After moving from soccer to field hockey, senior Arianna Carly had six goals.
Freshman Maddy Casale (three goals) and sophomore Janelle Sands, who scored a playoff goal against Ellis, show promise.
“It was a young group (without) a lot of experience,” said Lassen, the Sewickley Academy coach since 1994. “They played with enthusiasm, with a willingness to focus, and really came together.
“We're hoping they can draw on some of that experience next year.”
“(Sewickley Academy) is going to be really exciting to watch,” said Johnson.
It was the fifth time in seven seasons Sewickley Academy made the WPIAL playoffs. The last time it qualified was in 2010. From 2006 to 2008, it qualified three straight times.
The Panthers were seeking their first WPIAL title since 2001.
“Given where we started and where we ended, this was a wonderful season,” Lassen said. “I'm bummed out we didn't go farther.”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.